Every writer needs a reading break. It is my belief that you have to be a reader before you can be a writer. And how can you improve your own writing if you don’t take breaks or change things up?
It is November. Some of us are feverishly typing out our next novel with a coffee iv drip and some of us are still revising and editing our WIP with random fits of wall staring. I am the second one.
November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), when thousands around the world write their hearts out every day and every night. They try to hit their word count goal to inevitably write a novel in a month, at least 50,000 words – which breaks down to at least 1,666 words a day. It is a community and a competition. It can be heart wrenching to read the tweets of word count goal overachievers when you are struggling to write a 140 character tweet. However, having a sour attitude against other writers will get you no where fast. The writing community should be supportive and attentive. Writers should celebrate each others accomplishments because wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you when your time comes?
As much I want to start a new novel, I am not participating in NaNoWriMo because I am revising my MS that I pitched for PitchWars. I had started with 47K (which is low for a YA Fantasy) and now I’m over 56K…and I’m still going. I need to keep going and hopefully it will be over 65K. I feel really good about it, however, none of this positive revising would have happened if it weren’t for my reading breaks.
As an example, I’ve read “Dorothy Must Die” by Danielle Paige, “The Walls Around Us” by Nova Ren Suma and now I am hooked on the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I am in the middle of “Ruin and Rising.”
I recommend signing up for GoodReads, so you can easily keep up with your TBR list too.
Reading other books can be motivating, inspiring and relaxing. You expose yourself to different styles, genres, and voices. Read books that are in your genre of your writing and read books that are not in your genre of your writing. Writing your own novel can be disheartening, stressful and intimidating. Every day you want to quit. But look at reading as an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to support other authors. You can only get better in time the more you write, but how can you write better if you don’t learn and read from other authors?
We all need a break, a pep talk and a swift kick in the ass, as writers. We also need to celebrate the accomplishments of our peers because in the end we all want the same thing, readers. We can’t be authors without the readers. And in order for that to happen, as authors, we also have to be the readers.